“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (The Gospel According to St. John, 1:14). There it is — the epicenter of Christmas. Its festive 12-day remembrance has arrived once again. More than mere miracle, the Nativity is an awe-provoking mystery that plunges us into the deepest depths of human existence: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
The Word to which the Apostle John refers was “with God” — in fact, the Word was God” (John 1:1). This word is the all-powerful, all-creative “He,” as in “all things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). He simply “is,” prior to the existence of the world! He is the eternal word who is the same — yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
This word is Jesus Christ the Lord. Don’t take my word for it. Read John’s Gospel. There you will find this divine, eternal word who, from the glory of heaven, humbled himself to enter into our time and our creation via the virgin womb of a human mother. Jesus lovingly did that in order to put right what had gone so horribly wrong within the sphere of our human existence.
Our social sciences, politics, and personal desires chase after earthly peace, securities, and freedoms — things that come and go like the wind. Jesus’ intentions — completely fulfilled over the course of his life, death on a cross, and resurrection from the grave in the flesh — were altogether different and far superior to mere worldly ambitions. The word came to establish an eternal peace, a permanent reconciliation between perfect God and sinful mankind, life to replace death, the provision of the true light that enlightens all peoples, a light that never could or would be overcome by the darkness of temporal evil (John 1:5).
This is one instance where Christianity is distinctly disconnected from the pack of the other “great” world religions — and maybe even your own personal conception of who or what god is. Despite all-too-frequent claims to the contrary, we do not all “worship the same god” or “climb the same mountain on different paths.” This overwhelming mystery — that God “became flesh and dwelt among us” — is unique to Christianity. Deny or downplay this truth, and you simply don’t have the real Jesus. Lose sight of the real Jesus, and you don’t have true God, for Holy Scripture clearly says, “No one who denies the Son has the Father” (1 John 2:23a). But whoever abides in the Biblical witness to this word become flesh does have the only true God, for “Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23b).
There are plenty of ancient stories about “gods” taking on the outward appearance of human beings — but just appearances, nothing more than that. And ever since the fall of mankind into sin, there are those, too, who have entertained the groundless, vain hope that they themselves could somehow become gods. Most other religions have prayers and worship, definitions of proper conduct, and even miracles. But only Christianity proclaims God who became fully human, in every possible way, in order to save all humanity — each and every person — from the sin that would otherwise condemn us. Even as Christianity is utterly exclusive about this proclamation (only Christ, the Word, “became flesh and dwelt among us”) it is just as entirely inclusive — by faith in Jesus Christ alone, God’s righteousness and his reconciliation and peace have been made available to everyone, without exception.
Good news, a source of genuine hope, and a Christmas truth to be treasured: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”